In honour of our colourful neighbours to the north, I'll use Canadian parlance when describing the play of the Montreal Expos so far in my 1991 APBA baseball replay.
They're not doing too well, you betcha. Eh?
To put it more succinct, and more American, the Expos simply “suck.”
Since I began this replay in August, the team has won one game out of 18. They are 1-17, 12 games behind first-place leading Pittsburgh, as of April 27, 1991. In the real game, the Expos were 5-13 at that point. Their style of play rhymes with their orange mascot of the day — Youppi, an orange fuzzy thing akin to the Philadelphia Phanatic. Alas, the Expoos have been “poopy” during this 18-game stretch.
Six of those loses have been by one run.
Those of you who are not initiated with the APBA replays, the game company issues cards for each player of various sports seasons. The cards contain numbers, based upon the players' actual performances of that particular season. Players roll dice, match results with the numbers on those cards and compare them with pre-printed game results. Those more compulsive and geeky — i.e. me — replay entire baseball (or football, basketball and hockey) seasons, using actual schedules, lineups, etc.
Usually, the game-results somewhat mirror the results of the actual season. But on occasion, as in this case, there are those anomalies. I've found while doing these replays since 1977, that one team either plays well above its real-life potential, or falls short in a season. In a 1957 baseball replay I did a few years ago, the Chicago White Sox blew away everyone, including the real American League winner New York Yankees, to take my replay World Series that year. In a 1987 replay, the Minnesota Twins, the actual seasons' champions, lost the American League West Division by 10 games to Kansas City. In fact, I've only had one replay season out of nine feature the actual opponents of a real World Series. In 1942, the replay St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees in five games to take the World Series as they did in real life. And, as an oddity, the Cards edged the Yanks, 4-2, in the fifth game of my replay Series — the same score as the real St. Louis team won in their fifth game.
And maybe Montreal is not such an anomaly, winning 71 and losing 90 during the real 1991 campaign. At this rate, though, the replay Expos will end up winning only 15 or 16 games.
Larry Walker leads the replay Expos with a .312 batting average and two home runs. Lead off hitter Delino DeShields is batting .164 with eight stolen bases and Marquis Grissom, while leading the team with 11 swiped bases so far, is clubbing .284. The entire Expo team is batting .222. (I know... me keeping stats is an anomaly in itself!)
The pitching is also a tad weak.
Starter Chris Nabholz has an ERA of 7.62 and relief ace Barry Jones' 6.13 ERA doesn't shore down the bullpen.
Dennis Martinez has Montreal's lone win, a 4-0 victory over the Pirates on April 24, ending their opening 14-game skid. The Expos, revved by the accomplishment, promptly went out the following day and, when finding themselves trailing, 2-1, to Pittsburgh, gave up eight more runs to lose, 10-1.
It's like the team was hit by a "monster poleax" whenever it takes the field, which, by the way, is what you get if you rearrange the letters in “Montreal Expos.”
It's still early and the reverse anomaly could fire up. Montreal could run off a string of victories and balance out that won-loss record before too long. Probably not the next game, though. Nabholz is taking the mound in St. Louis and that 7.62 ERA of his won't keep the Cardinals from scoring a few runs.